With the official start of spring just a day away, the Capital Region may be hit by one of the larger snowstorms of the year.
“It will be up there, high on the [snowstorm] list,” said Luigi Meccariello, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany.
Between 6 and 12 inches of snow are predicted by the end of today in the valleys and 8 to 16 inches of snow in the mountains, he said.
Snow emergencies were declared Monday afternoon in municipalities in the region, including Saratoga Springs (starting at 9 p.m. Monday), village of Waterford (starting at 7 a.m. today) and Scotia (starting at midnight this morning). Snow emergencies set special regulations for parking cars along roadways so that snow removal can be conducted efficiently.
Spring, the vernal equinox, starts at 7:02 a.m. Wednesday, but the weather service is predicting very winter-like weather through the week.
A winter storm warning is in effect until 8 tonight for the entire Capital Region and Mohawk and Schoharie valleys and the Saratoga-Lake George region.
Hardware stores and discount centers in the region had started removing snow shovels and sidewalk salt from their shelves to make way for spring merchandise.
Ray Caouette, an employee of the Aubuchon Hardware Store in the Hannaford Plaza on Route 50 in Glenville, said the shovels had been placed in storage but were quickly returned to the shelves on Monday as people prepared for the expected snow.
“We had a few people buy shovels and salt,” Caouette said. He said the store had not yet removed its sidewalk salt from a winter-long floor display.
Meccariello of the National Weather Service said the normal amount of snowfall for this time of the year is 53.6 inches in Albany. This year only 41.9 inches of snow has been recorded, some 11.7 inches below normal.
Today’s storm could bring the snowfall total back up to normal for the year.
Temperatures today will be in the lower to mid 30s. South of Albany the temperatures will be above freezing much of the day and instead of snow, sleet and rain may fall for a portion of the day.
Albany and points north will see all snow, Meccariello said.
The state Department of Transportation said in a news release that the snow, sleet, ice, and rain could make driving a challenge.
The DOT has more than 1,400 trucks available statewide to pre-treat the roads with salt brine and plow as needed.
Travelers are encouraged to check conditions before venturing out by calling the state DOT’s free 511NY traffic and travel information system or visiting www.511NY.org on the Internet.
The heavy snow was not expected to start falling until Monday night.
Two low pressure systems, one over Canada and one off the coast of New England, are converging to bring the snow. The Canadian system will bring the snow Monday night and the coastal system will kick in today with more snow.
The largest snowfall recorded so far this winter at the National Weather Service in Albany was 9.6 inches on March 7 and March 8, Meccariello said.
On Dec. 26 and Dec. 27, a total of 7.8 inches of snow were recorded in Albany but 9.6 inches of snow were recorded those days in Saratoga Springs.
Last year the temperature for March 19 set a record at 78 degrees. The normal high for March 19 is 49 degrees and normal low is 27 with the record low temperatures of minus 10 set in 1967.
After the snow stops falling early Wednesday, the wind will pick up with west winds between 10 and 20 miles per hour, gusting to 30 mph. Thursday will be cloudy and cold with a high of only 30 and a low of 20.